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I let our son nap during the day... AIBU?

(68 Posts)
dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Wed 30-Jan-13 03:30:23

My darling wife is angry with me... She does not appreciate my allowing our 3 year old son to nap or sleep as he wishes during the day. He regularly wakes during the night and has a habit of crawling into bed with us. My partner finds these disturbances intolerable and blames my allowing DC to nap during the day.

Recently I was upset to find DW cajoling our son into staying awake... DC does not take kindly to having his kip disturbed and the situation escalated into something uncomfortable rapidly. I insisted that his napping during the day has nothing to do with his not sleeping at night and she accused me of not caring about her welfare and making her out to be the bad guy... I honestly believe that forcing him to stay awake against his will during the day is not the way sort out his night sleeping issues. Watching her doing it makes me uncomfortable.

Am I being unreasonable to allow our son to sleep as he pleases? Is there a link between napping during the day and not sleeping through the night? I don't want DW to feel like I'm not on her side here. I understand that she needs to be able to get a proper nights rest. My standard response to our sons incursions into our bed is to take him back to his own and stay with him until he falls asleep again. I am writing this now having just seen him off to sleep again. I don't believe cajoling him into staying awake during the day is the answer, besides which it doesn't work and DC inevitably finds someplace to catch 40 winks whilst DW is looking the other way...

CatsRule Fri 01-Feb-13 14:02:25

Our ds is a poor sleeper and even more so when he is overtired.

I find it difficult to get him to sleep during the day unless I'm out and he is in his pram. He is just so nosey and would rather see what's going on than sleep!

I did read and have heard that the better they sleep during nap times the better they are at night.

Our ds ends up in our bed most nights recently, everytime he wakes he seems to be cold...despite the layers and covers. Could there be something like being cd disturbing him? I'm naively hoping he will sleep better in his own bed when the weather gets a bit warmer.

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Fri 01-Feb-13 17:27:32

We had a massive row about this today. At least it was ostensibly about the sleep thing. She screamed bloody murder at DS when he dared tumble into our bed last night. At the time I dealt with it in the standard way. Took him back to his bed and stayed with him until he fell asleep. This took longer than normal because DS was crying over being shouted at. In the morning I found myself still in their room. DS2 had crawled into bed with DS1 and was clinging to him like a teddy bear.

Anyhow, I don't know if it was the lack of sleep or something else but I decided to talk to DW over breakfast about what happened that night. She seemed dismissive. I got angry, she got angrier. Lots of stuff come out. She'll be back around 9pm or maybe 10. I'm dreading it. Need to find someway of letting her know I'm on her side in this, so I'm making her favourite dinner followed by her favourite dessert and then I'll probably say something stupid like "I don't like it when you bully our children" and then all hell will break loose.

Wish me luck.

MortifiedAdams Fri 01-Feb-13 17:34:31

Sleeping through or.not she should NT be screaming blue.murder at him.

If this thread were reversed and you were the mum and the dad was doing this peole would be telling yo she was an aggressive bully and you need to have a Serious Talk.

Some would even say she may be depressed or something is going on outside the home for her to be acting rhis way in the home.

Some.would say LTB.

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Fri 01-Feb-13 17:36:35

Actually no... I am not going to say something stupid. I am going to figure out what is going on with her that is making her so bloody cranky. She's been cranky for a few months now and I get the feeling she's keeping something from me... I don't know what it is but i'm going to find out. This shit has gone on too long. I want my Mrs back, not this angry child bullying horror who seems completely oblivious to her own snoring but is unable to cope with a sleepless child. Something is UP and I am going to get to the bottom of it.

MortifiedAdams Fri 01-Feb-13 17:42:27

Keep your cool when you talk. Discussing her shouting at the kids while shouting at each other will be counter productive.

I find words sink in better if said straightly and calmly. Write some things down if needs be so you make sure you discuss everything that is bothering you.

Bottleoffish Fri 01-Feb-13 17:50:52

I agree that if you were a woman posting about your DH's behaviour some of the replies may be a bit different. It's not OK for anyone to 'scream blue murder' at their child.

Lack of sleep is a nightmare though and whilst I am not making excuses, it sounds like your wife is out of the house each day for a very long day and is probably exhausted and feels her sleep is important in order to cope. Perhaps if you think your son needs a sleep in the day an you are the primary carer, so really this is your decision, you can find a way round the night wakings by maybe sleeping in the room with your DS again until he sleeps better?

FWIW, I just don't bother trying to manipulate DD's naps. If I let her nap in the day she might go to bed 30 mins or an hour later (2-3 hour nap) but she sleeps just the same. If I try and keep her awake so she doesn't nap or wake her up before she wakes up by herself, all hell breaks loose and she is awfully grumpy all afternoon and it doesn't really help with bedtime anyway as she is then over tired.

MortifiedAdams Sat 02-Feb-13 07:44:10

Hope everything went OK last night OP.

mrsjay Sat 02-Feb-13 09:20:02

why is his mum screaming in his face that is not on I hope you got something sorted as there is no need to be so angry and shout at a little child like that because she is annoyed she cant get a sleep,

CelineMcBean Sat 02-Feb-13 10:09:43

DS sounds utterly shattered but I agree, shouting at a small child is not on. The sleep/nap diary sounds a good idea, as does a chat about how you are all feeling. You may be right and there may be another issue but equally working long hours and not sleeping is enough of an issue for anyone.

Regarding the sleep problems, I would consider the following:

1. Is this a problem for the child? Many reported sleep issues are, apparently, only an issue for the parent and the child's behaviour may well be perfectly normal in another family. Who really has the problem? If it's not the child then the adult needs to find some coping strategies.

2. What's bedtime like? If a daytime nap isn't affecting bedtime then the night waking is unlikely to be connected.

3. What else is going on? New siblings, new nursery, moving etc etc can all unsettle a child and lead to night waking or wanting to sleep with a parent. This is fairly normal and relates to how secure the child feels.

4. Is the napping a daily occurrence or only when he's ill? If it is sporadic and he's sleeping after 1pm then it may well cause problems because the child feels unsettled.

5. What coping strategies could you use?

Bedsharing - There's a massive difference between electing to bedshare and not which can feel like an invasion. Bedsharing can help reassure unsettled children but equally an already unsettled child being rejected is not going to help. The two parents need to decide what is acceptable and how it will be managed. You may all decide on a period of bedsharing or not.

DW may decide to sleep elsewhere for a bit, either to facilitate bedsharing or just to be removed from what is a source of anxiety for her.

Introduce napping or quiet time at a specific time to give rest. Between 2-3years old most (but not all) children drop their nap. This does not always happen gradually and most children still need some rest time even if it's not sleeping. Watching a DVD or something on CBeebies or reading a book together can all be restful without sleeping.

Have a cut off, say 1pm after which time unless he is ill you will keep him awake until bedtime.

Avoid car journeys or buggy rides after the cut off because they will make children sleep.

Have an agreed plan for evenings when he has napped. If you know it will mean a late bedtime then plan for that.

Move bath time to the nap "danger time". It will help keep him awake but won't add extra work to your day.

Keep him on his feet if he looks tired and you don't want him to nap. Go out for a walk, a kick about or some other activity.

CelineMcBean Sat 02-Feb-13 10:11:07

DS? Dw sounds shattered! Flipping autocorrect!

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Sat 02-Feb-13 14:12:56

Hi guys, Thanks again for all the advice/support. Nothing really happened last night. DW got home around 11pm looking totally shattered and definitely not in a condition to be interrogated about family stuff. So I warmed her dinner through, rubbed her down thoroughly & ran her a bath before we both went to bed. I slept in the boys room to make sure there was no possibility of her being disturbed.

This morning DS2 asked me "Is mummy okay?" which put a lump in my throat. I've sent DS1/2 & DW off to spend a day with DW's mum, whilst I get on with some of the odd jobs around the house. I guess we'll talk about things tomorrow. Sunday is family day in our household.

Thanks to all for advice/support and a special thanks to Celine McBean and Mortified Adams.

Oh yes! I found an activity monitor thinggy-me-bob that I used to use whilst I was getting rid of some excess weight. I'm going to modify it so that I can use it to monitor activity/sleep patterns for DS.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Sat 02-Feb-13 14:19:35

Rubbed her down thoroughly hmm is she a horse?

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Sat 02-Feb-13 14:33:36

No, she is not a horse! I did massage professionally for a couple of years to fund myself through uni. I still have a portable table etc... Start off lightly, getting progressively firmer. She has a bunch of knotty tense muscle issues around her neck, shoulders, lower back and er.. bum. Some of it's so bad I have to use an elbow or two. I should probably rub her down more often, but finding the time can be an issue. She loves it, and I love doing it for her.

holidaysarenice Sat 02-Feb-13 14:56:41

Your wife sounds completely spoilt!

She screams at ds = lovely favourite dinner and massage for dw!

If this was the other way round I could imagine mumsnet faces. If she has a problem she needs to talk to you and you to her. Not pander to her bullying behaviour.

PacificDogwood Sat 02-Feb-13 15:03:32

This sounds so much more like a relationship problem rather than 'just' a sleep problem, non?

FWIW, DSs2 and 3 slept every day until well after their 3rd birthdays, DSs1 and 4 stopped after their 2nd birthday and could not be 'made' to continue with daytime naps.
So, I think daytime sleep is very much individual to every child.

Having said that, I do think it is wrong to try and keep an obviously tired child awake.
The nighttime sleep problem is much more likely to do with routine setting, calm winding down period etc, or rather lack thereof, and you've had lots of v good advice on that here.

I hope you can manage to have a productive and calm conversation with your DW tomorrow. If she is not prepared to engage in a constructive conversation about her behaviour and how it is affecting your DS and you, I think you need to consider your position in this relationship.

pointythings Sat 02-Feb-13 15:18:54

OP, you sound like a complete saint. And I do think that there is something else going on with your DW, and you clearly love her very much so yes, it's worth pursuing. You need to tread very carefully though, because her 'reality' is probably very different from what you are seeing, and the truth will lie somewhere in the middle. Tackling my DH about his drinking took me a long, long time and a lot of tiptoeing, but we can talk much more openly about his stressors and how to deal with them as a result. I wish you every success with this, because despite the issues you have (and they ARE relationships issues) you sound like you have a solid marriage to build on.

FWIW, I have 1 DD who napped until 4.5 (she started school a term late, just short of 5) and one who dropped naps before she turned two. Both slept well, except when they were teething, ill etc. but I think a lot of that is luck. YY to putting a structure to the naps so that they don't happen too late - after lunch worked well for DD1, you'll need to experiment to see what works for your DS.

Hang in there.

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 02-Feb-13 15:21:18

Some kids need them, some don't.

I'm of the opinion that sleep begets sleep though. No one sleeps well when they're overtired.

CelineMcBean Sat 02-Feb-13 15:51:16

Your welcome - hope it helps smile

If she's tense and didn't get home until 11pm she must have a very stressful job. Does she ever get any time alone? Fwiw i don't think she sounds horrible or selfish. She sounds at the end of her tether for reasons we won't know until you talk. Do you ever get any time alone together? Ime it can make a huge difference and sort of reboot your relationship.

I have been in your shoes a little bit when I was a sahp and DP worked long hours. He used to travel with work and get so tired (although he never lost it with the kids) but he really enjoys his job which helps. We decided that if he had a lot of travel then some nights he would stay away at a hotel (work paid) because struggling home and unsettling everyone and falling asleep on the sofa was not helping him or us.

You sound like you're doing all the right things and have good intentions. I'm a bottler and dont talk about my problems. It's not healthy and has taken me to snappy irrational states at times. Keep talking and listening. Don't suggest solutions, offer a sounding board and support.

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